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Mastozoología neotropical

Print version ISSN 0327-9383

Mastozool. neotrop. vol.19 no.1 Mendoza June 2012



New record of Peropteryx leucoptera and first record of Peropteryx pallidoptera (Chiroptera-Emballonuridae) form Colombia


Andrés F. Suarez-Castro1,3, Héctor E. Ramírez-Chaves2, Miguel E. Rodríguez-Posada1,3 and Javier García4

1 Laboratorio de Mamíferos, Facultad de Ciencias, Instituto de Ciencias Naturales, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Carrera 45 #26-85, Sede Bogotá D.C., Colombia [Correspondence: Andrés Suarez-Castro <>].
2 Erasmus Mundus Master Programme in Evolutionary Biology: Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich, Germany and University of Groningen, The Netherlands.
3 Grupo de Investigación en Conservación y Manejo de Vida Silvestre, Universidad Nacional de Colombia.
4 Fundación Herencia Natural, Carrera 69f #64h-85, Bogotá, Colombia.

Recibido 17 mayo 2011.
Aceptado 27 octubre 2011.
Editor asociado: UFJ Pardiñas


ABSTRACT: We present new records of Peropteryx leucoptera from two localities in the Colombian Llanos. For this species these records constitute both the northern-most record and the first time it has been found in a different ecosystem such as the savannas of the Orinoco. In addition we report the first record of P. pallidoptera from the eastern Andean slopes in the Amazonian foothills of Colombia, which constitutes the northern-most known record for this species.

RESUMEN: Nuevo registros de Peropteryx leucoptera y primer registro de Peropteryx pallidoptera (Chiroptera-Emballonuridae) para Colombia. Presentamos nuevos registros de Peropteryx leucoptera de dos localidades de los Llanos Orientales de Colombia. Para esta especie, estos reportes constituyen los registros más al norte y la primera vez que es encontrada en un ecosistema diferente como lo son las sabanas del Orinoco. Adicionalmente presentamos el primer registro de P. pallidoptera en la vertiente oriental de los Andes, piedemonte amazónico de Colombia, que constituye el registro más al norte que se conoce de esta especie.

Key words: Amazonas; Bats; Colombian Llanos; Distribution extension; Orinoco.

Palabras clave. Amazonia; Extensión de distribución; Llanos de Colombia; Murciélagos; Orinoquia.


The doglike bats of the genus Peropteryx Peters, 1867, are restricted to the Neotropics and currently five species are recognized (Lim et al., 2010; McDonough et al., 2011). The bats of this genus are differentiated from other representatives of Neotropical Emballonuridae by the absence of dorsal lines or hair tufts in the skin; wing-sac present and located near the anterior border of the propatagium; wing attached to the leg on the ankle; the skull with a basiesphenoideal pit not divided by a longitudinal septum and spicule-like anterior upper premolar (Sanborn, 1937; Jones and Hood, 1993; Hood and Gardner, 2008). Hitherto, three species of Peropteryx have been registered in Colombia (Alberico et al., 2000; Simmons, 2005; Hood and Gardner, 2008): Peropteryx kappleri Peters, 1867; P. leucoptera Peters, 1867; and P. macrotis (Wagner, 1843)
P. leucoptera inhabits the greater Amazon basin of Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Surinam, Venezuela, Colombia, Peru and eastern Brazil (Jones and Hood, 1993; Hood and Gardner, 2008; Lim et al., 2010; McDonough et al., 2011). In Colombia, P. leucoptera is known from one specimen captured in undisturbed lowland tropical forest of Campamento Chamusa, Serranía de la Macarena, Department of Meta, where it was roosting alone in a tangle of roots under an overhanging stream bank of the Río Duda (Lemke et al., 1982). The species is easily distinguished from other Neotropical Emballonuridae by the presence of white wings; ears connected by a low band of skin across the forehead and a skull large and robust for the genus with the basisphenoideal pit between two large, deep pterygoid pits separated by a mesopterygoid extension (Hood and Gardner, 2008; Lim et al., 2010).
Recently, Lim et al. (2010) described P. pallidoptera from the lowlands of the western Amazonia of Ecuador and Peru. This species was confused previously with P. leucoptera (McDonough et al., 2011). Although the wings of this species are pale and mostly similar to the white wings of P. leucoptera, the ears are not joined above the head. Additionally, P. pallidoptera is similar to P. macrotis in body size and cranial morphology and the lateral pteygoid pits are not as large and deep as they are in P. leucoptera. In P. macrotis, the pterygoid pits are separated by a basisphenoideal pit, while in P. pallidoptera are separated by a mesopterygoid extension (Lim et al., 2010; McDonough et al., 2011). Given that specimens of P. pallidoptera were previously misidentified as P. leucoptera (McDonough et al., 2011), we reexamined the specimen reported by Lemke et al. (1982) as P. leucoptera to verify its correct taxonomic assignation. Furthermore we report the first records of P. leucoptera from the savannas of the Colombian Llanos; these specimens constitute the first records of the species in an ecosystem distinct to the lowland tropical rainforest from the Amazonas basin. In addition, we report the first record for Colombia of P. pallidoptera from the Amazonian foothills of the Andes.
The specimen of Lemke et al. (1982) is housed in the Instituto de Recursos Biológicos Alexander von Humboldt (IAvH). Our new records have voucher specimens deposited in the Instituto de Ciencias Naturales (ICN) of the Universidad Nacional de Colombia (Appendix). External measurements (mm) were taken from the specimens in the field, including total length (TL), length of tail (TV), length of hind foot (HF), length of ear (EAR), length of tragus (TR), and length of forearm (FA). Cranial measurements were recorded with digital calipers to the nearest 0.1 mm including greatest length of skull (GLS), condylo-incisive length (CIL), breadth across zygomatic arches (ZB), breadth across mastoids (MB), breadth of braincase (BBC), breadth across postorbital constriction (POC), length of maxillary tooth row (CM3), and breadth across upper molars (M3M3). Measurements were taken according to Lim et al. (2010) and McDonough et al. (2011).
We confirm that the Lemke et al. (1982) specimen belongs to P. leucoptera. Although the skull is broken and we could not confirm cranial measurements, and the skin has lost its original color, we can distinguish that the dactylopatagioum are white, in addition to an evident interauricular band. This combination of morphological characters is diagnostic for P. leucoptera and any other species described as Peropteryx present these characters (Sanborn, 1937; Jones and Hood, 1993; Hood and Gardner, 2008; Lim et al., 2010; McDonough et al., 2011).
Two P. leucoptera were collected by Ramírez- Chaves (HERC) and Rodríguez-Posada (field numbers HERC 768, HERC 769) in a mammal inventory in the Pacific Rubiales Inc. Kifa Este oil concession block (Fig. 1, Appendix) in October 2009. Bats were caught with mist nets 6 m in length, with a mesh diameter of 36 mm, set at a height of 3 m above the ground inside the forest. Specimens were preserved in 96% ethanol and the skull of HERC 768 was extracted for taxonomic identification. The vegetation in this area is dominated by savannas adjacent to riparian forest, and palm swamps (Fig. 2a, b). The forest where these bats were captured has a canopy height of about eight meters, and constitutes a small isolated fragment crossed by a stream (where the net was placed) surrounded by grasslands. Other species collected at Kifa Este and deposited in the ICN collection were Saccopteryx lectura (Schreber, 1774), Desmodus rotundus (É. Geoffroy St.-Hilaire, 1810), Phyllostomus elongatus (É. Geoffroy St.-Hilaire, 1810), Chrotopterus auritus (Peters, 1856), Mimon crenulatum (É. Geoffroy St.-Hilaire, 1803), Micronycteris megalotis (Gray, 1842), Trachops cirrhosus (Spix, 1823), Glossophaga soricina (Pallas, 1766), Carollia brevicauda (Schinz, 1821), Rhinophylla pumilio Peters, 1865 and Artibeus planirostris (Spix, 1823).

Fig. 1. Distribution of records of Peropteryx leucoptera and P. pallidoptera from Colombia. 1. P. leucoptera (FSC 107 and 193); 2. P. leucoptera (HERC 768-769); 3. P. leucoptera (IAvH 2241 Lemke et al. 1982); 4. P. pallidoptera (JGV 015 and 021). Black region represents the Eastern foothills of the cordillera Oriental. Regions adapted from Ferrer-Pérez et al. (2010).

Fig. 2. Locality record of specimens of Peropteryx leucoptera in the Orinoco region, Colombia: a) general landscape; b) forest fragment at the Pacific Rubiales Inc.'s Kifa Este oil concession block, Puerto Gaitán, Meta; c) and d) vegetation physionomy of forest fragment at the Cubiro's Alange oil concession block, San Luis de Palenque, Casanare.

Two additional P. leucoptera were collected by Suarez-Castro (FSC, field numbers FSC 107, FSC 193) in the Alange Energy Corp Cubiro oil concession block, in the municipality of San Luis de Palenque, Department of Casanare (Fig. 1, Appendix) in September 2009 and January 2010. P. leucoptera was one of 31 species of bats captured in that survey (Suárez-Castro and Sánchez-Palomino, 2011). Vegetation consists of savannas and disturbed gallery forest surrounded by agricultural and pasture areas. Most of the land is used extensively for livestock; crops are scarce and limited to subsistence farming; and much of the native vegetation has disappeared (Castellanos-Castro et al., 2011). Bats were captured with mist nets of 9 x 2.5 m set at 3 m above the ground in a riparian forest with no vertical stratification, and a canopy height of 10 m (Fig. 2c, d). Specimens were preserved as skin and skull preparations.
All specimens of P. leucoptera here reported match all diagnostic characteristics for the species, including white wings; ears connected by a band (Fig. 3a), and the skull with large pterygoid pits separated by a mesopterygoid extension (Sanborn, 1937; Jones and Hood, 1993; Hood and Gardner, 2008; Lim et al., 2010; McDonough et al., 2011) (Fig. 3b). The external and cranial measurements of our voucher specimens of P. leucoptera fall within the range of size variation documented for other localities (Lim et al., 2010; McDonough et al. 2011) (Table 1).

Fig. 3. Photograph of a female Peropteryx leucoptera (HERC 768) showing: a) band across the forehead connecting the ears; b) wings apparently white; c) dorsal, ventral and lateral views of the skull, showing large pterygoid pits (Pp) separated by a mesopterygoid extension (Me). Scale = 10 mm.

Table 1. Skin and skull measurements (mm) of specimens of Peropteryx leucoptera reported in this study in comparison to the mean and range (parentheses) for specimens of Peropteryx leucoptera reported in previous studies. Measurements from the holotype of Peropteryx leucoptera cyclops housed in the British Museum of Natural History (BMNH) were obtained from Lim et al. (2010) and McDonough et al. 2011. Abbreviations of measurements as explained in the text.

Finally, two P. pallidoptera were captured by Garcia (JGV, field numbers JGV 015, JGV 021) in Department of Caquetá, municipality of Montañita, adjacent to "El Oso" stream (Fig. 1, Appendix) on 24 January 2007. The captures were made in a small cave (0.5 x 0.3 x 1m) with entomological nets. The cave is adjacent to a multi-stratified forest with a canopy height of 25 m, in a typical Caquetá foothill landscape, which constitutes a transitional zone between the eastern slopes of the Cordillera Oriental and the Amazonian basin.
Voucher specimens of P. pallidoptera conform in all respects to previous descriptions of the species (Lim et al., 2010; McDonough et al., 2011), including the small pterygoid pits separated by a mesopterygoid extension (Fig. 4), wings with paler tips and ears not connected by a lower band of skin. Our specimens are smaller than the average in most measurements of specimens from Ecuador and Peru (Table 2).

Fig. 4. Lateral (bottom), dorsal (center) and ventral (top) views of the skull of Peropteryx pallidoptera (JGV 021); note the small pterygoid pits (Pp) separated by a mesopterygoid extension (Me). Scale = 10 mm.

Table 2. Skin and skull measurements (mm) of specimens of Peropteryx pallidoptera reported in this study in comparison to the mean and range (parentheses) for specimens of Peropteryx pallidoptera reported by Lim et al. (2010) and McDonough et al. (2011) from Ecuador and Peru. Abbreviations of measurements as explained in the text.

The records here presented show the distribution of P. leucoptera into a different kind of ecosystem such as the savannas of the Orinoco. Previously the species was known only from Neotropical rainforest of the Amazonian and Orinoco basins. In contrast the vegetation in the sites of our records are dominated by extensive savannas mainly composed by herbaceous vegetation, principally grasslands; and the arboreal vegetation is represented by riparian forest along streams and rivers without water shortage in the dry season. For these reasons our report, some 450 km beyond the known range, appears to be the northern-most record of this species. It therefore represents an important ecological extension of the habitat of the species and large increase of area and ecosystem potentially used by the P. leucoptera.
We report the first record of P. pallidoptera for the country, also a northern-most known record for this species (280 km from the next closest record). The ecological conditions of the vegetation in the site of our record are similar to those previously reported for the species (Lim et al., 2010; McDonough et al., 2011). As Lim et al. (2010) stated, it seems probable that these species are widely distributed and will soon turn up at other sites where appropriate survey methods are used to inventory bat diversity. Species of Peropteryx have been collected in a variety of habitats, including cavities along stream banks; dark spaces under large fallen trees; within hollow trees; and in mistnets placed in forest (Sanborn, 1937; Lemke et al., 1982; Brosset and Charles-Dominique, 1991; Simmons and Voss, 1998). It is important to emphasize that all our specimens were captured in areas that are under strong anthropogenic pressure, specifically large development projects that could cause a strong impact on ecosystems and biodiversity loss (Rourke and Connolly, 2003; Hooper et al., 2005). It is essential to develop more inventories, which constitute the first step in assessing management and conservation plans. The information here presented is important for establishing morphological and morphometric patterns among species of white and pale winged Peropteryx across their continental-wide distribution.


FSC records were obtained during the project: "Inventario de los mamíferos y reptiles silvestres del área de explotación petrolera Cubiro de la empresa Monctez S. A. en los municipios de Trinidad y San Luis de Palenque (Casanare, Colombia)". FSC thanks David Andrés Marín Cardona and Pedro Sánchez-Palomino for their assistance in his study. HERA thanks Raul Pedroza and Jonh Jairo Mueses for the collaboration in the Kifa´s field trip. We thank Susan Cousineau (MEME Programme) for revision of the English text. We also thank the curators of the ICN and IAvH mammal collections. Julio Betancur facilitated the use of the stereoscope for taking photos of skulls. Finally, we thank to Miguel Pinto, Carlos Delgado- V., Hugo Mantilla Meluk and Burton K. Lim for their comments on the manuscript.


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Specimens examined:

Peropteryx leucoptera: COLOMBIA, Meta, Puerto Gaitán, Campo Rubiales, bloque Kifa Este (03º50`N; 71º57`W, 350 m), October of 2009; HERC 768 adult female (fluid, skull removed); HERC 769 juvenile male (fluid, skull removed); Casanare, San Luis de Palenque, vereda La Venturosa, finca El Jordán (5º12'16,2'' N; 71º 20'22.9''W, 350 m), September of 2009, FSC 107 male (skin and skull) ; January of 2010, FSC 193 male (skin and skull). IAvH 2241: Meta, Río Duda, Campamento Chamusa (2º42' N, 74º10'W, 250 m), female (skin and skull).
Peropteryx pallidoptera: COLOMBIA, Caquetá, Montañita, vereda Las Juntas, hacienda Las Delicias, quebrada El Oso, cueva La Virgen (01º30'9.6"N; 75º22'5.9"W, 274 m), January 24 of 2007, JGV 021 female and JGV 015 male (skin and skull).